Two helpers from Rudy Giuliani, US Attorney Donald Trump’s lawyer, were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of illegally influencing elections. The arrested are two Florida businessmen, Lev Parnas, born in Ukraine, and Igor Fruman from Belarus.
Foreign capital for influence
The prosecution accuses them of using foreign capital – including at least one million dollars from an unknown Russian businessman – to influence candidates for state office. According to the prosecutors, in May 2018 they donated $ 325,000 to the Trump-affiliated committee, America First Action. The payment was declared wrong.
It also shows a delicate connection: The two men are said to have helped Giuliani to collect information about the Democrat Joe Biden. Biden wants to run for the presidency. The planned impeachment proceedings against Trump should not be directly related, it was said.
Travel to Vienna
In the Causa, there may also be a Vienna connection. The two detainees are said to have booked a one-way ticket to Frankfurt according to investigators. According to concurring US media reports, the real target for the men was Vienna. According to Giuliani, the two men are said to have traveled to the capital three to six times in recent months.
Questions to raise now contradictory statements Giulianis. The lawyer said after the arrest of the two, he should have met the two men only after their return in Washington. Today, however, was published on the magazine „Atlantic“ that Giuliani also had plans for a trip to Vienna. Giuliani told the magazine about the hour of the arrest that he would be flying to Vienna shortly.
Thus, he would have been in Vienna at the same time with Parnas and Fruman – a meeting would have been at least officially but again planned in the US. For US commentators, this information gives rise to doubts. Giuliani did not want to comment on demand for the purpose of his trip.
„WSJ“: Translator in Causa Firtasch
According to the Wall Street Journal, one of the detainees is alleged to be linked to the cause of Dmitri Firtash, the Ukrainian oligarch who was arrested in Vienna in 2014 for corruption allegations. According to the report, Parnas is said to have worked as a translator for two Firtash lawyers. These in turn should have connections to Trump. The lawyers said that Parnas‘ current planned trip to Vienna was unrelated to the cause.
Trump said about the arrests that he did not know Parnas and Fruman, even though there is a photo of him and his two men.